In San Francisco’s bustling central shopping area, amidst the festive holiday atmosphere, hundreds of protesters convened on Saturday to demand an end to the conflict between Hamas and Israel. They also called for the dropping of charges against activists involved in a recent Bay Bridge demonstration.
The demonstrators, many from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, gathered outside the iconic former Westfield mall on Market Street. Their chants of “free Palestine” and “cease-fire now” echoed through the streets, while they brandished yellow signs with messages like “No Xmas as usual in a genocide” and “DA Jenkins drop all charges on the Bay Bridge 78.”
By mid-afternoon, the protest had escalated to a point where participants obstructed traffic along Market Street, stretching from Powell to Ellis streets. The situation intensified as the protesters marched down Market Street, resulting in a confrontation with police and the arrest of one individual. The cause for the arrest was not immediately clarified.
The group then moved towards Union Square, encircling the Christmas tree and ice skating rink. This action symbolized their broader message and their dissatisfaction with ongoing international and local issues.
The reference to the “Bay Bridge 78” pertains to the 78 individuals arrested during a previous protest that blocked the San Francisco Bay Bridge. That demonstration, as reported by Breitbart News, notably delayed several ambulances, affecting organ transport for transplant patients.
These actions in San Francisco are part of a nationwide pattern of pro-Palestinian protests aiming to disrupt Christmas celebrations. Prior incidents have included interruptions at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting in New York and alterations to California’s state Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The Union Square protest also reflects the ongoing challenges faced by retailers in the area, already struggling with crime and retailer departures.
An update to the situation revealed that protesters removed ornaments from the Union Square Christmas tree, potentially causing damage and leading to the tree’s lights being turned off.